If the appropriate spare part is already waiting for pickup before the construction site, it saves time and trips. ProMart, a specialist for services in technical wholesale, offers mobile unmanned self-service warehouses with an RFID solution from Turck.
The challenge: Manual material procurement hinders construction progress and increases overall project costs
It is not uncommon for a tool to break when it is urgently needed. And when things are at their most hectic on the building site, that one crucial part is missing. This also means that the “quick run” usually happens under time pressure, and often enough, the needed part is not in stock. The more remote the building site, the greater the time and personnel costs – and the more annoying the forced shutdown of work.
Even a company’s own stockpiling doesn’t solve all problems. All spare parts must be easily accessible to every employee and reliably protected against unauthorized access – and the inventory must be fully tracked. On large building sites, the number of companies involved, including all subcontractors and sub-subcontractors, is almost unmanageable. At first glance, a shared, freely accessible spare parts warehouse may seem to ensure the supply for ongoing work. In retrospect, the administrative effort for the allocation is almost impossible to manage. Inventory becomes confusing and the actual up-to-date stock level is virtually unknown.
Contractors want flexible solutions that can handle replenishment management without the need for additional personnel. Such a range is also in the interests of the technical wholesale trade, which covers all the needs of a building site. That is why the ProMart retail chain responded to this need with the EasyMart store – a mobile spare parts store in a standard ISO container with secure access control. Turck Vilant Systems provided RFID hardware and the complete software system for booking, billing, and assignment to the shop users for the concept.
The solution: An RFID-based automated self-service store
The core of the solution is the right concept. Consistently automated, without the need for personnel, all information can be called up at any time and is reliable in everyday use. The RFID solution from Turck Vilant Systems was chosen. RFID is compact, cost-effective to implement and well proven. Only additional technology is required for data transmission to the goods management system. The technology with RFID transponders and readers is contactless and unique.
Access to the EasyMart store is controlled with a personal RFID card. Only one person is allowed to be present in the store at a time, ensuring that all goods movements can be easily attributed. It does not matter which company the authorized users belong to. Various roles are possible in the user administration, which are stored in the users’ accounts. The code on the goods is scanned with the card and the selection is checked and confirmed again in the checkout area. This reduces potential errors to a minimum. The button press that finalizes the purchase initiates several processes in the background: all necessary data for automated invoice generation is available, including the buyer’s identification and product information. The goods issue is also automatically recorded and taken stock of with the intended inventory on-site. The restocking process is also automated.
Turck Vilant Systems offers a standard package for self-service stores. ProMart had already considered a concept for the EasyMarts, which could be realized with a few adaptations to the Turck solution. The most important parameters were a large number of users and automated warehouse management without shutdowns, for example for stocktaking. In addition to regular purchases, the system can also handle loans and pre-orders.
The result: Exactly the right range always available - and inventory in real time
Because the RFID devices only record the relevant goods movements and all data is available in real time in the ProMart control center, stocktaking is possible at any time at the touch of a button and the flow of goods is completely transparent.
Based on this data, the supply chain can be digitalized to precisely match the turnover in each self-service store. Automated restocking lists maintain the desired inventory for each item, so both stocking and the retrieval process, which is the “purchase” within the container itself, are carried out without the need for personnel. This solution also has many advantages on the building site, as materials procured “in stock” can cause problems, take up valuable space or have to be laboriously transported away again once the work is finished. This means that a mobile material and spare parts store, accessible at any time, is available for any construction site with any number of participating companies and subcontractors without any additional personnel or effort for inventory management.